Newtown attorney and world class cyclist Monte Frank will never forget the day he received notice that he would be representing the US at the 2013 World Maccabiah Games in Israel. It was December 14, 2012.
Reeling from the shock and horror of what occurred in his home town on that fateful day, Mr Frank said it took him a long time to even go back and acknowlege the envelope carrying his invitation to ride with the US cycling team in what would be the largest international sporting event of the year.
But by late May, Mr Frank was ready to begin training and fundraising for his trip having led a March ride from Sandy Hook to Washington, DC with a team of 26 cyclists in the hope of affecting support for federal firearms and mental health legislation in the wake of the mass shooting.
"While I covered my own travel expense, there was an obligation to also raise group funds to support the younger athletes, Mr Frank told The Newtown Bee during an interview this week.
According to its website, the World Maccabiah Games first opened in Israel in 1932. The Games, the first ever held during the British Mandate of Palestine, welcomed almost 400 athletes from 18 countries, including over 60 athletes from Arab countries such as Syria and Egypt. — to Tel Aviv.
This year's games featured more than 9,000 athletes from around the world. Mr Frank said one of the greatest moments of his cycling career, and of his life, was moving through the tunnel at Jerusalem's Teddy Stadium chanting "USA, USA," before emerging to the cheers of more than 30,000 fans who packed the venue for opening ceremonies.
He describes the moment in a blog post on the Daily Koz site: "As I marched in, listened to Prime Minister Netanyahu live and then President Obama on the video screens, all I could think about were my neighbors in Sandy Hook. It occurred to me that there was not a single person in that stadium from every corner of the world who had not heard of my small town because of 12/14. All I wanted to do was find my daughter who was in the stands and give her a hug."
Once the excitement of the opening ceremonies was over, Mr Frank had a chance to do some sight seeing before getting himself mentally and physically prepared for the first of his competitions, a 25km time trial.